Tom Grannemann brings to the School Committee table extensive experience analyzing large public budgets and managing public expenditure at the local, state, and federal levels. He will work to provide the funding needed to improve our schools at a cost that is reasonable for Haverhill taxpayers.
School budgeting is a complex task
By law, school committees in Massachusetts have three main responsibilities:
- Select and remove the superintendent
- Review and approve budgets for public education
- Establish educational goals and policies for the schools
Of these duties, school budgeting may be the most complex, requiring the most persistent attention and the most specialized knowledge. The School Committee shares responsibility with the Mayor and City Council for determining the size of the school budget, but has the main responsibility for how that budget is allocated.
Because schools are the largest part of the City budget, school budgets must be considered in the context of municipal finance. The School Committee must take account of:
- State constraints on city taxes, including levy limits, levy ceilings, and rules for debt exclusions and overrides mandated by Proposition 2 1/2,
- External influences on city resources related to the current economy and financial legacies such as the Hale Hospital debt and pension obligations,
- The state school funding formula, which affects the dollars Haverhill receives from the state – we receive more dollars per pupil than wealthier communities such as Andover or Boxford, but fewer dollars per pupil than poorer communities such as Lawrence and Lynn,
- The availability of grants, donations, and other special funding
- The budget requirements of multiple contracts for teachers and other school employees,
- Changing school needs, related to enrollment, state mandates, and the student population,
- Varying needs for maintenance and facilities,
- Choices to be made among alternative means to improve curriculum, class sizes, staff support, facilities, libraries, and technology.
Better budget processes can help
With his professional experience in public finance and budgeting, Tom Grannemann can help the School Committee to establish budgets that reflect community values and local priorities and direct resources where they will do the most good. Tom will support a budget process that includes: needs assessment with school input; clear goals and priorities set by the School Committee; systematic identification of cuts and consolidations to save money; benchmarking of spending by category against other communities to see where Haverhill is high and low; and strategic decisions on long run investments in curricula, technology, staff allocation, and facilities.
Improved school financing is an affordable possibility
Arranging appropriate financing for Haverhill schools can be done without overburdening Haverhill taxpayers, but it will require the cooperation of Haverhill leaders on the School Committee, on City Council, in the Mayor’s Office, and at the Statehouse. Tom Grannemann is ready to step up and contribute his expertise and with Facts, Fairness, and Financing to work with other city leaders to find the funds needed to make better schools a reality in Haverhill.